Roofing & Insulation
Credit Available 30% of cost (product only, no labor)
$1,500 maximum for all improvements combined
Timeline Must be "placed in service" (ready and available for use)
Jan. 1, 2009 – Dec. 31, 2010
Requirements
Metal & Asphalt Roofs

Energy Star-qualified. (Revised Aug. 25, 2009) An update on the Energy Star website notes that, in addition to meeting Energy Star requirements, metal and asphalt roofs must also have appropriate pigmented coatings or cooling granules to qualify for the tax credit. Not all Energy Star-qualified metal and asphalt roofs meet these criteria. Always check Manufacturers' Certification Statements to ensure product's tax credit eligibility.

Insulation Meets 2009 IECC & Amendments
Must be expected to last five years or have a two-year warranty
Primary purpose must be to insulate. As of May 31, 2009, IRS has not ruled on SIPs or insulated siding, but it is believed that SIPs are eligible
See summary chart: Stimulus at a Glance

From mechanical equipment in the basement to insulation in the walls, there are plenty of opportunities for homeowners to invest in building products that will help them earn tax credits.

At the top of the list, in many situations, are high-efficiency roofing materials. But when competition for business arises among the trades for other tax credit–eligible product categories, roofing contractors are finding that proactively educating customers on cost-saving opportunities is essential.

Clear Communication

“Jobs are often coming in because homeowners have a problem with their roof,” says Bill Wade, president of Affordable Roofing, in Aurora, Ill. “They don’t know that the credits are available, so we have to educate them, while we’re looking at the job, that they can get a tax credit if they’re willing to make an upgrade.” Wade’s colleague Ron Pugmire, who manages the blog RoofInfo.com, adds, “the early bird catches the worm here. Whoever gets to the consumer first wins the prize of getting them the credit. Once the credit is tapped out, you lose it as a bargaining chip in future sales.”

Contractor Mike Conte agrees. Conte Remodelers, in Marion, Ohio, installs windows and siding, and handles other major remodeling projects in addition to roof installations. “We haven’t seen as great a surge in business because of the $1,500 in roofing as we have seen on windows,” he says. “But about 25% of the roof installations we’ve done so far this year will qualify for the tax credit.”

Conte says that other roofers in his area don’t seem to be advertising the opportunity, while his company uses print ads and fliers, as well as a page on its website, to disperse information and drive traffic at their home and garden shows. He thinks some remodelers may hesitate to discuss tax credit–eligible products for cost reasons. Cool shingles, for instance, will cost more than standard shingles, thereby increasing the price of a roof, and potentially turning off a customer.

“We’re finding that’s not true,” Conte says. “Our presentation to a new client lasts about 90 minutes and includes a lot of information about the different levels of product quality that are available. When it comes to the Energy Star products, we tell [homeowners] it will typically add $3,000 to the price, but that Uncle Sam will pay for half of it, and with the energy savings, they’re likely to see the rest of their return within four years. Over time, the upgrade comes at no cost.”

In addition to homeowners seeing the opportunities with roofing tax credits, Conte says that his sales staff is equally eager to discuss the topic. “Roofing is not normally a luxurious job to talk about,” he says. “This has excited our salesforce because we have something fun and exciting to talk about with our customers.”